road trip raves: big sur, california

It's a dreary, rainy Monday afternoon in Vancouver - but such weather just makes writing a little more enjoyable in my opinion (because I sure don't feel like going out!).

I've been sharing highlights from our road trip down to Los Angeles over the past few months. But this particular segment of our trip was a little different, because it was to a destination on my bucket list - woohoo!

big sur california nature scenery

I've heard and seen so much about Big Sur, so you can imagine my excitement at the thought of visiting it. I know it isn't good to have high expectations of a place sometimes - but Big Sur certainly didn't disappoint (for the most part).

We only managed to spend a day there, but it was quite enough to visit most of the highlights, such as Bixby Creek Bridge, McWay Falls, and the 17 Mile Drive. Here are some visuals of the craggy coastline and turquoise blue waves Big Sur is known and loved for, and a list of things to know before you go:

Here are some of my travel tips to Big Sur:

  • Drive slow. There are tons of "unauthorised" spots to pull over and grab great scenic shots as you drive along the coast, so don't be in a rush to get to all the touristy photo spots.
  • Visit Carmel-By-The-Sea. We only managed to do a drive-through of this charming town, but it's well worth a stopover thanks to its quaint, fairy tale-esque architecture.
  • Don't spend too much time in the 17 Mile Drive. To be honest, I didn't think this drive was very spectacular (and we paid $10.25 for entry!). Maybe it's because we visited in the late afternoon and the sky was quickly turning dark. We did catch a pretty sunset there, but it was really crowded. I much preferred the sunset we caught at Pismo Beach.
  • Don't pay for parking at McWay Falls. We forked out $10 for a parking spot, only to realise that people had parked along the sides of the road to check out McWay Falls, which really wasn't much of a waterfall. Still, it's a nice enough stop to get out and stretch your legs at.
  • Small cars are best here. We were previously travelling in a huge 34-foot-long RV, and we were SO glad that we didn't attempt to drive it on these curvy roads because it would've been hella nerve-wrecking. So if you're planning to visit California in an RV, you should probably rent a car for this stretch!
  • Check online for road closures. When we were there in January 2018, some parts of Highway 1 were closed for repairs, and I believe restoration works are still in progress. Check out this link for how you should plan your route from the north or the south.